Meet Welcome Back Delta: the Essex boys specialising in smut and swamp rock

Group picture of rock band Welcome Back Delta

Cheltenham in Gloucestershire only has one real claim to rock’n’roll fame: it’s the birthplace of the Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones. Now, however, this genteel spa town can add another name to that list: Welcome Back Delta, a hairy four-piece with a swampy, Deep Purple-esque sound and a nice line in sultry suggestiveness.

Indeed, as far as the latter is concerned, the band are keen to point out that the titles of their two albums – Shocker and the latest Sucker – follow a pattern. And we don’t just mean nouns that end in ‘er’. “They’re all sexual innuendoes,” chuckles bassist Phil Davies. “As was our first EP, Growler. I don’t think I can say any more… It’s a bit difficult to explain to your parents. But we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

The band formed in 2011 and are fast gathering a reputation for blistering live shows and a sound that cuts across blues rock, grunge, metal and even punk. As well as Deep Purple, they’ve been likened to Queens Of The Stone Age and Clutch, whom they got to support in Bristol last year. “That was an amazing gig,” raves vocalist Joe Kelly. “They were fantastic. No ego as well, just really down-to-earth guys.”

“They asked us to come on to their bus and have some whiskies with them,” adds Davies, “but literally two minutes before we were due to go on stage! I thought, ‘Typical…’ But that’s the way it goes.”

Welcome Back Delta have done their fair share of touring, but aren’t quite the debauched rock pigs their music and image suggest. “Once we played at the Mothers’ Ruin pub in Bristol with two other bands. Afterwards the venue owners let us all crash out in this tiny upstairs room,” says Kelly. “So you’ve got 12 hairy, smelly rockers in there, and inevitably a couple of guys try and bring some drunken crazy girls back. And they’re going, ‘Can I go on tour with you guys?’ ‘But we’re going round the country, how are you going to get home?’ ‘Will you drop me home?’ Then you realise they’re carrying a bag full of all their clothes and belongings. We ended up hiding and sleeping in the van.”

The band’s following also seems to be getting younger, if another recent gig at the local Wychwood Festival is anything to go by. “It’s a very family-orientated event, “ explains Davies. “So we toned down some of the lyrics. But afterwards we were called into the merch tent – which we weren’t expecting – and saw this queue of children all lining up for us to sign stuff.”

“They’re all going, ‘You’re the first rock band I’ve ever seen. You’re my favourite band,’” adds Kelly. “We were all a bit flabbergasted.”

Welcome Back Delta: the naughty but nice, family-friendly swamp rockers that are down with the kids.

FOR FANS OF: Stone Temple Pilots

One influence the whole band agree on is grunge icons Stone Temple Pilots’ 1992 breakthrough album, Core. “I lived just outside Washington DC as a kid and you’d hear it loads on the radio,” remembers Kelly. “It was really grimy. You could hear a lot of hurt in it but also a lot of healing. It made sense to me at the time.”

Shakey Graves wants to soothe you with his folky blues

The best new blues albums you can buy this month